Miniature dinosaurs, jewelry that features rainbows and, apparently, rings with swastikas can all be found in vending machines that dispense toys for a quarter.
Leona Kelley, a mother in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was stunned when her son used a toy vending machine at a local Family Dollar store and was given a plastic ring that featured an eagle atop a swastika. That symbol, also known as the iron eagle, was the official symbol of the Nazi party during World War II.
"We actually bought four things, and three of them were little dinosaurs or something," Kelley said. "And on the fourth one, it so [happens the Nazi ring] fell out.”
Though Kelley’s four-year-old son doesn’t know what the swastika means, he was more upset his mother did not let him keep the ring, she was furious. "You don't want to know what my reaction was," Kelley said. "I just started yelling at the store people like 'what the [explicit] is this!'. I'm like 'why is this here?’."
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Reporters from KOKI investigated the incident and they found that the vending machine contained ten to fifteen more rings with swastikas. Managers at Family Dollar confirmed that, while they were not responsible for stocking the machine, they’d had issues with the vendor before.
KOKI attempted to contact the unnamed vendor, and the man who answered the phone did not identify himself and refused to give a comment on the rings. However, he did say the vending machine would be inspected and removed in a few days.
Kelley worries that the rings were intentionally placed in that store because it’s located in a predominantly African American community. “[The swastika ring] was made just like the other rings they've got in [the vending machine],” Kelley said. "You can bend it up and shove it in here. So it was made for a vending machine. I just don't understand why."